Posts tagged: DISCLOSE Act

Follow Up on Recent Issues on China Law & Policy

By , July 28, 2010

A worn out Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid

The past week has provided closure to two issues China Law & Policy has been following  for the past few months.  Last week, Senate majority leader Harry Reid announced that the Democrats would not be moving forward on the climate change bill that had been sitting in the Senate for the past year.  Although the bill had the potential to completely reorganize the U.S.’ energy policy, the Democrats were unlikely to get the votes necessary to pass the bill and opted not to try.

The death of the climate change bill raises serious questions about the U.S.’ ability to compete with China on green technology.   The Chinese government has made major and obvious commitments to green technology, attracting capital from around the world.  Without a coherent energy policy, don’t expect investors to seek out green technology opportunities in the U.S.  Until the U.S. has a more coherent policy, anticipate the continued flow of capital to China.

As if the failure of climate change legislation was not enough, the Senate announced yesterday that it would not take up the DISCLOSE Act, the House of Representatives’ response to the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United v. FEC, a decision that expanded corporations’ speech rights in U.S. elections.  As China Law & Policy wrote soon after the decision, Chinese companies, some of which have ties to the Chinese government, could use the loophole of their U.S. subsidiaries to donate to U.S. campaigns. China Law & Policy testified before Congress in May on the legislation – the DISCLOSE Act – as it was being considered by the House of Representatives.  Looks like we won’t be testifying before the Senate anytime soon.

Gees, did Harry Reid just have the worst week ever?

Congressional Testimony of China Law & Policy – With Link to full Webcast

capital_building_threequarterLink here for webcast (or go through the House website here).

Click here for CL&P’s Written Testimony Submitted to the Committee

Yesterday, the Committee  on House Administration held a hearing to discuss  and analyze the DISCLOSE Act (H.R. 5175), the legislation drafted to deal with some of the issues raised by the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Committee.  Most of the new legislation deals with what disclosure should be made when a corporation runs a commercial or ad as part of its political activity.  But Section 102 of the proposed legislation seeks to close the loophole that enables foreign corporations, operating through U.S. subsidiaries, to fund “electionteering communications.”

China Law & Policy’s article, “Citizens United: U.S. Politics with Chinese Characteristics” was picked up by the Committee’s staff and I was invited to testify about potential foreign government influence in our elections post-Citizens United.  On the panel also included former Federal Election Committee (FEC) chair and lead staffer on the McCain-Feingold, Trevor Potter of Campaign Legal Center; Prof. John C. Coates of the Harvard Law School and expert in corporate governance; Michael Toner, partner at Bryan Cave and former FEC Chair; and William McGinley an attorney at Patton Boggs.  The House Committee is to vote on the legislation on Thursday, May 13.

The full webcast can be watched here (or here).  It was a very interesting discussion and I recommend watching all of it (total time is 1 hour 31 minutes), but for those just interested in the discussion on foreign influence (or the parts where I speak), below is a breakdown by time of the discussion.  Thank you for watching!

Discussion on Foreign Influence in U.S. Elections:

14:45 – 16:45 Trevor Potter, Opening Statement

21:49 – 22:27 John C. Coates, Opening Statement

22:38 – 27:45 Elizabeth M. Lynch, Opening Statement

29:28 – 31:05 Michael Toner, Opening Statement

34:03 – 34:32 William McGinley, Opening Statement

42:56 – 46:14 Rep. Lungren, Question for the Panel

  • 46:15 – 47:12 Coates, Response to Rep. Lungren
  • 47:13 – 48:47 Lynch, Response to Rep. Lungren
  • 48:48 – 49:46 Lungren Conclusion

1:02:59 – 1:03:21 – Toner, Response to Rep. Harper

1:05:45 – 1:10:22 – Rep. Capuano, Questions for the Panel, Back-forth with Toner, and China issue Lynch

China Law & Policy to Testify Before Congress

US House sealChina Law & Policy will be appearing before Congress tomorrow.  The Committee on House Administration, which has jurisdiction over federal elections, is seeking testimony on the potential for foreign influence in U.S. elections post-Citizens United.  I have been invited to testify.  Congress is seeking to pass legislation, called the DISCLOSE Act, to rectify some of the issues caused by the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision.

The hearing  will be at 5 PM at 1310 Longworth House Office Building in Washington DC.

The hearing will also be shown LIVE on the web: http://cha.house.gov/ (on the left-hand hand side will be a link for live webcast)

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